An EPIC Effort to Help Beekeepers
Ethical, Pragmatic, and Intelligent Computing is everything to computer science and engineering lecturer and researcher Navid Shaghaghi. His EPIC Lab was created to advance the use of Ai and IoT technologies to benefit humanity. Earlier this year, the lab was abuzz with work on HiveSpy, a labor-saving apiary monitoring system.
Beekeepers must check every frame of every box daily or risk losing their harvest and hives. If frames fill up, a biological reaction triggers swarming: a process in which the majority of the adult bees fly off to create a new hive elsewhere and leave behind the larvae of the next generation which eat the collected honey.
“Currently available systems weigh the entire box, which doesn’t address the labor issue, as the beekeeper still needs to check each frame daily. And to prevent swarming, cruel tactics such as removing the queen’s wings or imprisoning her within the hive are practiced. HiveSpy monitors the weight of each frame, so only the full frames need to be checked. In finding a labor-saving solution, we also solved the threat of swarming,” Shaghaghi beamed.
Coming up with a smart, ethical, and economical solution for weighing each frame individually wasn’t easy for Shaghaghi’s undergraduate and graduate students, but after a year of iteration, they’ve devised a plug-in system of 3D printed beehive ledge extenders equipped with stabilizers, sensors, and circuitry. They even built their own large-scale 3D printer to prototype it. When campus activities return to normal, HiveSpy will be tested on SCU’s own beehives.
Apr 8, 2020
Prof. Navid Shaghaghi and Liying Liang working on assembling sensors in a hive box.